The 3 x 3 Journal: A Quick & Easy Journaling Method for People Who Don’t Have Time to Journal

If you have 3 minutes at the end of the day, you can do this — and it will change the way you approach each day.

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash

The problem

You don’t have time to journal. Or maybe the prospect of sitting down to write out what happened during the day makes you want to curl up in the fetal position on the floor. I feel your pain.

The Solution

The 3 x 3 journal. Take no more than 3 minutes at the end of your day, and answer these 3 questions. Take no more than 1 minute on each.

  • What should I have done, but didn’t?
  • What will I do differently tomorrow?

How to Do it

There will be the temptation to complicate this process, but it’s important to keep it simple. List one or two things under each question. Write less than you feel like writing. That will keep it a habit for longer. One minute per question may not seem like a lot, but in this context, it is—as long as it’s a quiet minute, where you’re not distracted by other things.

What did you get done today?

You can list as many things as you want, but the best way to answer this question is to think in terms of priorities and progress toward goals. This should happen a bit naturally, as having to write things out tends to discourage listing things you’re not proud of having gotten done.

What Should You Have Done, But Didn’t?

As you list out what you did get done, you’ll probably come up with something you know you should have done, but didn’t. We all have those things, as most of the time, we know we could have done just a little more. List that here.

What Will You Do Differently Tomorrow?

Your answer to this question will likely flow right out of your answer to the previous question, but not necessarily. In some cases, what you will do differently tomorrow has a lot to do with what you didn’t do today. But in some cases, it’s actually what you did do today that establishes what you want to avoid tomorrow.

Learn to Make Yourself Proud

A big part of this exercise is learning how to be proud of yourself. It’s not about being boastfully proud and cocky. But rather, it’s about providing a way to recognize what you did, as well as set up a clear and specific route for getting better tomorrow.

Written by

Author of “The Wabi-Sabi Way” and “Be, Think, Do”. Subscribe to my newsletter “Woolgathering”:

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